The “Summer in Berlin” dress
First of all, let me say how extremely pleased I am today for the following reasons:
a) I managed to finish this challenge on time
b) I actually have photos to show you where I smile (!!!)
c) hubby is finally starting to learn how to use our camera (see below)
Berlin is one of the greatest places to be at in summer which is lucky because we won’t go anywhere this summer. My husband was offered employment after he’s been scraping by as a freelance ESL-teacher for years so he took the job, of course. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to cancel our trip to California that we had planned to take in June (pretty much right now). This is particularly sad because California isn’t just a random destination but my husband’s home and now, he probably won’t get time off until next year in spring. :( Anyway, let’s look at the bright side: We get to spend our entire summer in Berlin. 20% of the city is covered by forests. We have so many natural lakes there’s no way one can even know all of them, there are all kinds of canals and water arms going through the city (in fact, I live on an “island” right in the city centre) and most of the streets are lined by old trees. Every morning when I ride my bike to bring my little son to preschool I am overwhelmed by the beauty of those wonderful tree-lined streets and the beautiful houses from 1880 to 1910 (always interspersed by some ugly modern buildings but somehow, that keeps it interesting).
The Berliners don’t have a very good reputation when it comes to their sense of dressing. Our current mayor once said “Berlin is poor but sexy” – yes, he’s probably right about this…Berliners are extremely casual dressers and look a lot less polished than e.g. people from Munich. I am one of the most casual dressers at all because I work at home and usually don’t even bother to get dressed until it’s 2pm. I do like pretty clothes but it’s so easy to neglect my clothes when there are no colleagues who might talk behind my back. When I finally have time off this means I actually have time to dress up…I actually have time to iron a pretty dress, put on some make-up and realise that I can look quite pretty when I am not lost in translation. So that’s why my vacation dress is rather fancy…
….ok. I admit it: The other reason is that I started this dress when the pink challenge was up but of course, my translation work came in between and it’s a miracle I managed to complete it for the vacation challenge on time. It does fit though because this is really the type of stuff I wear when I finally have true vacations (not talking about the weekends that I spend on the playground with my little son).
⁃ Fabric: About 4.5 yards of rayon challis that I had bought more than 10 years ago. I can’t remember that price but since I was still a student then and didn’t spend much on fabric it can’t have cost a fortune.
⁃ Pattern: Butterick 5603 (Retro pattern) – I made the skirt longer and I increased the darts in the back area to get it closer to my natural waist
⁃ Year: reprint from 1956
⁃ Notions: zipper for 1.60 EUR, eyelet trim from stash
⁃ Time to complete: I never time my sewing time but it felt as though it took me forever which is probably due to the fact that I sewed over so many weeks so little…the cutting of the dress was the most time consuming part. The skirt pieces were HUGE (even worse because I added about 5 inches to the length), the fabric was slippery – not a pleasant experience at all. Sewing the dress was quite easy. I would guess, all in all, I spent about 8-10 hours on this dress.
⁃ First worn: On June 17 for the photos. Haven’t had the chance yet to wear it outside because it was rather cool this weekend.
⁃ Wear again? – Absolutely. I love this dress. Although I probably won’t make it again so soon because those skirt pieces were so difficult to handle…
⁃ Total price: I spent 1,60 EUR for the zipper. The fabric was probably around 10 EUR when I bought it.
All in all, I am very happy with this dress. If I sewed it again, I would lengthen the bust part for half an inch because it is a tiny bit too short for me. I already lengthened the bodice itself (at the designated lengthening line that is indicated in the pattern) but I guess hardly any women was 6 feet tall in the 50s and that lenthening line doesn’t consider that the bust part itself is also longer in tall women.
My little son keeps saying that I look like a pink princess in this dress – he adores pink – and he wants to have a pink dress, too. Oh well, considering how tolerant Berlin is towards funky clothing styles he should be able to get away with wearing a pink dress…
PS: Sorry for the indoor photos. I had planned to illustrate my bragging about Berlin with some great Berlin shots but my
terrorist son got up at 2:45am on Saturday morning which pretty much messed up our entire Saturday. In the morning when he was wide awake we were practically unconscious and in the afternoon when we were finally relatively awake he slept. We didn’t manage to leave the house at all. Sunday was lost on trying to educate the little Big City boy about bees and and how they make honey. We spent almost 2 hours trying to get to that event just to find out it had been cancelled. When we were finally home again our son refused to go out one more time (LEGO obsession) and we had to improvise. Hubby took half the photos and then Josh and I had fun playing with the timer of our camera…